Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Approaching the storm

Here's where I am -

I held auditions last weekend, and they went very well. I will be changing Tarek's name, since the best male actor I saw is very All-American, and the name doesn't suit him. He absolutely blew me away, so I feel justified in this decision.

I've been juggling a few names for a while here: Charlie, Luke, etc. Any ideas are welcome.

I don't have a Gemma yet. I saw some definite maybes (very flakey of me, I know), but I'd like to see a few more girls before I make my final decision. Desiree's taking care of that.

I'm going to go check out St. Augustine this weekend and see if I can lock onto a positive location. I'm getting sort of panicky because I'm shooting in a little more than a week, so it's cutting things very close. As it is, I need to get my production book flying toward Lisa last week.

So, it's around 10pm, and I'll probably be on campus for another few hours finishing that business up. I'm going to meet with Desiree later tonight, and bring Jesse along to discuss props, etc.

I met with Rich concerning my script last week, and got some great feedback. I feel comfortable pushing toward the comedic side of my story now, and got some good starting points. I'm going to wait to make my third (and hopefully final) revision until after I see my locations.

I feel like they can be a character in and of themselves, so they deserve a bit of discovery before I lock onto a plan of action. However, sequence will be the same, so I'm good to start planning schedules and whatnot.

Anyway - headshots and location photos coming soon.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Rewrite, etc.

I finished a complete rewriting of my script yesterday. What will probably end up happening is a combination of the two drafts. The story is still exactly the same, but I wanted to play with dialogue and locations.

The story is pretty versatile. I just want to be ready for any sudden changes as shooting approaches. I was telling Desiree that I could really make any sort of social location work for the reality scene. I just need to make sure I can give it the proper seasonal feel.

I met with my DP yesterday too. We got a lot accomplished. Obviously, casting and locations will leave a bunch subject to change and adjustment, but we've hashed out a basic color scheme, etc.

I want the shoot to look powdery. Think eye-shadow tones and consistencies.

As far as locale goes, Drew is becoming attached to the idea of shooting in St. Augustine, and I must admit I think it would bring another layer of fantasy to the piece. The entire city has an otherworldy type of feel to it when one is a visitor, and the ambiguity of time and place perfectly suits the story at hand.

The idea of having a harbor in my film hadn't previously crossed my mind, but right now it seems perfect. Of course, I'm not getting too attached to anything yet.

Well, with the exception of having cobbelstones for my alleyway scene.

Originally, I had pictured something simple, even kind of skeezy - like this:

But wider, of course.

Now, the possibilities of things like the following have got me all a flutter:

(exclude starving orphan from my fantasy shoot).

Anyway, I'll probably use some of these images in my pitch tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fresh starts

Didn't get to pitch this week. However, I'm guessing this will work out in my favor since now that I've seen it done, I have an opportunity to polish up my plans, maybe even make a nifty slideshow.

I had a productive meeting with my Art Director (Jesse Chapman) last night - was supposed to meet with my DP (Drew Suppa) today after colloquium, but he had an emergency to attend to in Tampa, so we've rescheduled for next Monday at noon. I'm going to try to get Jesse in attendance, so the three of us can hash out a basic idea of what we want.

I've decided to dedicate one day of shooting to the cafe/restaurant area. We'll do breakfast and lunch there and wrap before sundown, hopefully without too much light shift. The next day half the crew will convene at the apartment set and begin to get things ready and set up dinner catering, while the other half films the alleyway stuff nearby. We'll get back to the apartment, feed everyone, and wrap after a few of the simplest shots I have in mind for the entire film.

As long as the cafe stuff goes smoothly, I think the plan leaves little room for error.
On a slightly unrelated note, I lost my job today. It's been a while coming, and I can honestly say that I'm a slight bit relieved. However, my ex-boss graciously has agreed to pay me for the next two weeks, which will give me free time to prepare for this shoot and to look for replacement employment.

I couldn't have gotten two weeks paid vacation if I hadn't been "let go," so I'm going to go ahead and look at it as a positive thing.
I've decided I would like to produce one film. I've offered to one in particular that I'm waiting to hear back about, but if anyone is desperate for a producer, please give me a ring.
So - here's my crew list so far:
Producer - Desiree Proctor
Director of Photography - Drew Suppa
Gaffer - John Heppe
Grips - James and Robert Dastoli
Art Direction - Jesse Chapman
First A.D. - Sean Heyboar
Script Supervisor, etc. - Janine Godfrey
Craft Services - Ginan Jobarah
Am I missing something imperative? Aside from filling PA positions, if I'm missing something vital, let me know.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Couple of inspirations I've been turning over in my mind

I've put a lot of thought into how I want this baby to look. Kubrik's Dark Christmas in Eyes Wide Shut has been a huge inspiration as far as mental images I have of the fantasy scenes.

Christmas films share a unique potency - a specific feeling that is only replicated by driving by nativity sets or hearing Silver Bells on the radio. However, more than cheesy moments, there's an intimacy and seductive aspect of the holiday that wraps up most of the known world. It drives people to do things they wouldn't usually do, and want things that would usually only be a passing fantasy.

Kubrik's Gothic take on the holidays is perfect for what I'm going after. Rich, decadent colors that match the overindulgence of the story and the people who will be carrying it.


Now, speaking of indulging - As many of you have heard (over, and over) I have been heavily inspired by a French film released in America as Love me if you Dare.

This story revolves around two very selfish people who love each other, but are trapped in a cycle of vicious attacks on one another to maintain their own upper hand in a game that they've played since childhood.

It's wildly romantic and horribly dysfunctional at the same time, and it has much the tone that I'm going for with Gemma's character.

Poor Tarek (her childhood friend) has never been up to her games, but she's at the end of her rope, and her determination will (hopefully) be what makes us fall for her.

Another thing about Jeux d'enfants that I love is the moments of obvious absurdity and surrealism as an insight more to the character than to the actual physical story. It's something I would love to experiment with, and am, superficially, with the fantasy sequences in the script, but I'd love to have something a bit more fun, like Amelie melting in the Two Windmills or one of the daughter's fantasies from Antonia's Line.

As far as the stuff in the cafe goes, I was thinking rosy and gold to make it look very warm and welcoming in opposition to the assumably cold weather. Of course, Gemma would want none of this, but I think it would have the right feel.
Music will also be important - I can't get the idea out of my head of Gemma and Tarek dissappearing into a hotel room under a high guitar riff of a provocatively sped up "O Holy Nite"

Anyway, to wrap things up, I've been coming up with taglines in hopes of teaching myself to slim down my descriptions.
This is the best one I've got :
Christmas shopping - you see something you like, but the best you can ever do is get it for someone else

Prelude to nervous breakdown

Okay, so at the moment, I'm feeling pretty good about all of this.

I'm a little freaked out about pitching tomorrow, but I figure I'll get a basic idea of what I want to go in with and then let my talented classmates stage me up for an hour or so, so I can rework my approach. I'll go after the break - that's my resolution.

I'm currently swinging between two titles, they are as follows:

- Window Shopping
- Re-gifting (this one's new, so it could very well morph into "The Regift" or something similar)

My story follows an afternoon with a young woman named Gemma (That's Jeh-ma - for those of you who don't know), who is doing her holiday shopping and not enjoying it in the least. She's been conned into helping someone choose a present that he feels he couldn't do justice to - however, at the last moment her partner has jumped ship, leaving her to tackle this duty on her own.

So, we come in toward the end Gemma's shopping day. She's taken a pit stop at a local bookstore that's teeming with a holiday crowd she finds entirely too cheerful, and has taken to a corner of the cafe bar to muse over her lousy luck.

We see her twisting a lovely engagement ring around her finger, but she's not being cheered by the sight of it. She throws a couple of dirty looks to a wholesome looking man who has been trying to catch her eye. Could he be the cause of her bad mood?

However, her luck takes a violent shift when she is surprised by a (very attractive) childhood friend, who recognizes her from across the bookstore. They begin to strike up conversation, old flirtations sparking back to life, and we find ourselves thrust into Gemma's mind.

She and her Blast from the Past are shown in various heated moments - are they flash forwards? flash backs? who knows. Regardless, they are soon shattered by the appearance of a third character - The man's wife.

After some awkward introductions, Gemma wisely excuses herself and watches her hope at reviving the day vanish into a muddle of shoppers.

She catches the eye of the wholesome looking guy and starts after him. He waits expectantly as she reaches him, extends her hand and introduces herself.

We are once again plunged into Gemma's mind, in the exact location as her previous thoughts, with her in the same outfit, engaging in the same passionate activity with the wholesome man.


Yeah, so I suck at the "in a nutshell" thing. It's something to work toward. Anyway, I've made significant progress over the past couple of days.

I've secured most of my crew (Still need a sound guy and various PA type people), and have tentative casting dates set and shooting dates.

Locations are going to be the big challenge here. I will most likely have to get a head start on them myself, as the producer I've met with to date is leaving for Utah on Friday. Asking things from strangers has always been the thing that makes me squeamish about the film biz.

My script is going through a pretty heavy re-hash at the moment. I'm altering some locations from the previously unrealistic original draft and working on some character development and more character-specific dialogue.

Anyway, back to pre-production. Suggestions are welcome (hint.)